Monday, September 29, 2014

Siblings, Friendship and Peacemaking Part 1

 Recently, my mom and I talked about different ways we can interact with some of my siblings. Each person learns in a different way, and trying to figure out which sibling fits which category, is not easy! ;) 
As my siblings got older, they started to work, attend college, and other life events… the time for me to spend with them, wasn't as often as I used to be able to. I was no longer able to say on the spot, “Hey, you want to go see a movie with some friends?” We now, had to schedule it in.
     My older brother, works full time, so, the time we get with him, is not very much. My two younger brothers, between jumping from jobs and doing school, and homework, the time we get with them, like I said, isn't as often as it used to be.
     Real “life training” begins at home when your sister won’t share her toys or when your little brother scribbles all over your new coloring book. It continues as you grow up and learn how to respond to daily trials and conflicts (big or small) that you experience at home. If you can’t succeed at home in the “small conflicts,” how will you be able to deal with bigger conflicts later in life? 
     Our brothers and sisters are one of the biggest blessings that God has given us! But sadly, many siblings fight, argue, and miss out on the close relationship that God intends. The problem is not just the surface battles, but the underlying attitudes, wrong concepts, and offenses. Many broken relationships never get fixed. Few enjoy the special, lifelong treasure that God intended. God desires that we not merely “get along” with our brothers and sisters, but that we become best friends! 
     Is this possible? Absolutely! God's Word has the answers for every situation, and the Lord gives grace to those who ask for it. (James 4:6)
     So, how do you stay connected with your siblings as you get older? To some families, it’s a piece of cake, because they were raised with it, and to make it work! … To others, it’s a little more difficult. Granted, asking questions to your siblings isn't always easy! I had read the book, “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” by Sarah Mally, about 3 years ago. I wanted to be intentional about having a deeper relationship with my siblings. I knew it’d take a lot of work on my part… and pride
would get in the way many times. 
     You have to really want a deeper relationship, as well as make an effort to be with your siblings. Maybe you think that it’s too late with your siblings to start a relationship with them; maybe you don’t have any siblings; and maybe you don’t want a relationship with your siblings… they did something to you many years ago, that you've never been able to let go past you, or forgive them about. Whatever the case may be, I’d encourage you to try to make it work, and to forgive, and not let it get in the way of a wonderful relationship you could have. After all, that's what peacemaking is all about. :)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." ~Matthew 5:9~
"Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." ~Psalm 34:14~

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When Things Don't Go Our way

Today, I had a list of things I was going to get done. I was supposed to help out with food and cleanup at our church today from a meeting going on the last couple days. I had a long day yesterday, so I was going to go to leave a little early, stop by the library, and read for a bit in the quietness. Not long after I left the library, my mom called me and said, "I need you to come home right now... Ethan(19) needs to go to the hospital." Upon further investigation, he had gone to the gym, and felt like he had gotten dehydrated. The staff told him that they were going to call 911, and that he needed to go to the hospital.
After talking with the EMT's there, we decided to just take him to Urgent Care. This happened to him not long ago when he was at a training class for police officers. So, we took him to Urgent Care immediately following. (FYI... doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong)
For a while, I was pretty upset that I wasn't able to help out at the church building; but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it's really not about me. I needed to watch my siblings, above helping out at our church, where their were already several others helping any way. I had to think of my family, above serving others. Sure, I could have taken my siblings with me, but that's not what they needed.
After coming to the realization that I needed to start thinking about them, and not about how to make other people happy, my day started going great.
My point with telling you this, is to let you know, that's it's okay if things don't go your way sometimes. That happens to all of us. Life happens, and we need to take whats given to us... with a good heart and a good attitude. It's not always easy, I know; but God gives us grace to go through each day. And you know what, the afflictions we face daily, are only temporary! When we die, or when Christ returns, we will be with Him for all eternity! Now that, is something to look forward to!
I was reminded of a couple Bible verses:
"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." ~ Proverbs 16:9~
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6~
"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." ~2nd Corinthians 4:8-9~

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blog Giveaway!!!

Hello all! I'm doing another Giveaway! This Giveaway is for a $10 Gift Card to iTunes! Instructions Below... have fun entering!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Serving without Complaining

This past week, I've been helping at a Conference for men. The girls, are in charge of the cooking, cleaning, and getting the drinks all ready for breakfast/lunch/dinner, and keeping them filled throughout the day.
As fun it is when you have friends fellowshipping with you while working, there's also a seriousness to it. The laughs and giggles are good, but what about the heart of the matter? When we cook and serve others in the kitchen with friends, we're joyful about it... but what about in the moments when we're tired, sweaty, and running low on energy and sleep?
On our afternoon devotions that one of the girls prepared, we talked about complaining. Sometimes we complain without even realizing it, and sometimes we complain because we want people to know how we feel, and how much work we're doing.
We complain about the little things, like, all the flies in the kitchen, or, how many times we've already cleaned the restrooms. What is our heart in the matter? Even when no one else sees all the hard-work we do, God sees it, and He can see the heart. For instance, I was in charge of making sure that all the drinks we're always filled... most of the preparations for the coffee and such, went on in the back-room, where no one could see me. To be honest with you, I didn't really seem to care. I was in so much of a rush to get the coffee done any way, that I didn't notice that my work... in a way, went unnoticed. No one saw how I make coffee, or even if I made coffee. Now, of course, we'd get a lot of men telling us how grateful they were that we took all this time to prepare some awesome cooked food, and that was great! But, what if they hadn't thanked us? Would we still be serving without complaint?
Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."
So, the next time you're in the kitchen cooking meals or serving someone in some way, remember to think of it as service to God! God appreciates a cheerful servants heart! And you know what else? Everyone around you notices a cheerful heart too! ;)
But remember, while serving, don't forget to sit down, at the foot of the cross, and pray and talk to God.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Trusting God in Every Area

This past week, I've been learning how to trust God even more.
We all go through phases in life that we don't quite give our all to Christ. We may give parts of our life to God... but what do we really "surrender" to Christ?
We say that we trust God in all things, but what happens when our faith is tried and tested? When we find out that a loved one has passed, or when we find out that our loved one has cancer. Do we trust God that Is He's in control of everything even then? Do we trust that He is still sovereign over all?
I can remember 13 years ago, when my mom was pregnant at the time with child number 5. She carried to full term, but baby Grace ended up being a still born. During this time of loss, my parents became so close to Christ, because they knew it was part of His plan and His will. It wasn't easy at first to accept that they had lost a child. My mom had her up and down days of trying to figure out why God had chosen to take their child away. My mom began to realize, it was never her child. It was always Gods child.

6 Weeks later, my mom was pregnant with my sister, Joy. The realization that God gives and takes away in the blink of an eye, was unreal. My sister, Joy, ended up having a cleft lip and pallet. She wasn't breathing when she was born, and then my dad talked to her and said, "Joy! Joy!" The doctor said to keep talking, and so my dad did. Joy responded to my dads voice, and started to breath.

I couldn't help but think of how we respond when God calls us by name. In those moments that we might have gone astray, or  feel lost, scared, and alone, God is with us even then.
9/11 was just a couple days ago. The day in history that has been marked as a terrorist attack. Many asked, "Where was God when _____?" we all might have doubts like that; but what do we choose to do with those thoughts? Do we choose to trust God, and know that He has a will and plan that may defer from ours? I pray that in my trying times, that God uses it for His glory, and not my own.

"In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." ~Psalm 62:7-8~

"As for God, His way is perfect... He is a shield to all who trust in Him." ~Psalm 18:30~

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." ~John 16:33~

Monday, September 8, 2014

Having a Child-Like Faith

As I was going on my jog this morning, I couldn't help but notice the beauty in the air. The clouds that God created, the trees, grass, and flowers that were there. Everything was so beautiful!
I couldn't help but be reminded of our faith in Christ. Yesterday, at church, the exhortation was about faith.
Hebrews 11:1-3, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."
Faith is what you live by; faith is accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ. Hope and faith keep us going. Believe in God and let the spirit work in you.
 Having a child-like faith can be difficult at times. We're reminded in Matthew 18:4-5, "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me."
It's amazing how children trust. They trust that when their parent and/or sibling picks them up, they won't fall.  We trust that when we sit on a chair, it won't break. We put our trust in so many things on a daily basis. I pray that I will have more of a Child-Like Faith as I walk in the ways of the Lord.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Matt Walsh and what America loves

Many of heard of Matt Walsh. He recently wrote this article which was really great and quite the eye-opener. I thought I'd share that with ya'll today:
Video surfaced a few days ago of Victoria Osteen, wife of famed “pastor” Joel Osteen, saying some rather heretical things to the “congregation” at Lakewood “Church.”
Sidebar: I’m only one sentence into this post and already I've been forced to use sarcastic quotes three times. For simplicity’s sake, I will, from here on out, drop the quotes with the understanding that the quotes are implied. Joel Osteen is only a pastor because anyone can call themselves a pastor these days, and his church is only a church because anything can call itself a church these days. I happen to be of the old fashioned school of thought that believes a pastor should be, in some ways, distinguishable from Tony Robbins or Oprah, and a church should be, in some ways, distinguishable from a basketball arena on game day. I’m not saying that all churches need to be adorned with stained glass windows and incense (although I’m a fan of both), but I am saying that maybe all churches should have, like, a cross or something somewhere, maybe. God forbid a house of worship be arranged in such a way as to
 make it clear that we are specifically worshiping Jesus Christ and not the smiley fellow on stage giving
the vaguely spiritual pep talk.
In the clip, Mrs. Osteen implores the audience to “realize that when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God… we’re doing it for ourselves.” As her proud husband nods approvingly, Osteen continues. “Do good for your own self. Do it because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really — you’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”
Amen! What wonderful blasphemy! Worship God for yourself. Do good works for yourself. Take up your cross, suffer the slings and arrows of the Enemy, and die with Christ for yourself. (OK, she didn't say that last part, but only because the Osteen's have a strict “don’t talk about Jesus” preaching policy).
In more primitive times they burned heretics at the stake. Now we greet the blasphemers with applause and multi-million dollar book deals. I’m not sure if the latter response is any more enlightened than the former, but both are wrong.
This is obviously an indefensible teaching, and one that does not require more “context” to be understood. “Do good for your own self.” A definitive, complete, profoundly disordered statement. Rooted in the Idolatry of Self, it betrays a pagan attitude which positions the Self as the Ultimate Good, the Final Purpose. All things — even God Himself — must revolve around the great and powerful Me. In the Osteens’ version of things, God exists to serve us, just as we exist to serve ourselves. You act virtuously for your own sake, because it brings you happiness. Never mind what Christ said in Matthew, when He told us to “let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” Here, He seems to state that we act with righteousness and virtue in order to glorify God, but Mrs. Osteen thinks that Jesus is complicating the equation. Just shine your light for your own sake. Forget about God. Keep it simple, folks.
And even when you pay honor and homage to the Lord — do it because it makes you feel good. Your feelings are the end all and be all. Again, we are a far cry from what Scripture has to say on the matter, where Paul exhorts us to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship.” [Romans 12:1]
Read the rest of the article at:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gay Marriage... is it wrong?

As I write this post, I am at tears because of something that went on tonight amongst some Christians.
The title of this post is called, "Gay Marriages... is it wrong?" To answer this question, I'd like to post a couple Bible verses.
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination..." ~Leviticus 18:22~

"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."~Leviticus 20:13~

"But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female..." ~Mark 10:6~

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." ~1st Corinthians 6:9-10~

So, is Gay marriage wrong? According to scripture, yes!
I got many remarks telling me that I didn't interpret the Bible correctly, and that it's okay to joke around with. The Bible clearly states that it is an "abomination". Sin is not to be taken lightly. If it is, then I beg of you, please, check your heart.
The Bible says, "Do not be deceived, God is nor mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." ~Galatians 6:7~
Whatever sin we may have committed, if we go to God and confess that sin to Him and ask for forgiveness, we will be forgiven! A Christian in Greek is "Follower of Christ". What we do, reflects upon Him. If we disgrace His name, God will chasten us. May we learn to love righteousness and to hate sin.
I'd encourage ya'll to go to this website/page, and look at what their response is:

Some people will mock and even hate me for posting this. but, my question is this: If you think that Gay marriage is right, or okay to joke about, than you might consider this passage of scripture, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you are disqualified." ~2nd Corinthians 13:5~